Role and Responsibilities of the Board of UKA
The Board of UKA has the same legal responsibilities and duties as the Board of any other limited company. It decides the strategy of the company, approves long and short term plans and budgets, and monitors activity and financial outcomes. It also oversees the controls over financial and legal probity, health and safety and the proper treatment of the employees.
The Chairman of the Board runs the meetings and has an oversight over the corporate governance processes. He also acts as a senior level public face of the company and as a mentor for the Chief Executive.
The Chief Executive is also a director of the company, and has responsibility for implementing the strategy and decisions of the Board and managing the company and the employees.
The Finance Director also fulfils the role of Company Secretary. As an executive he reports to the Chief Executive; he also has responsibilities to the Chairman and the Board as a whole.
The other directors are known as Non-Executive Directors, as they do not have direct executive roles. They do, however, have the same responsibilities as the other directors for the actions and probity of the company. They are chosen for a mix of athletics and business expertise and involvement, and each works with one of the strategic business units within the company to review their activities and to add expertise and knowledge to the activity.
The UK Athletics Board code of conduct document can be found here.
Ian Beattie – Chairman
Ian is a Chartered Accountant and Chief Operating Officer of Lindsays LLP, a firm of solicitors. He was Chair of Scottish Athletics from 2012 to 2021, and has previously served as Vice Chair of Sportscotland and Vice Chair of the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Ian has been involved in club athletics as an endurance athlete for more than 30 years and is a member of Edinburgh based Harmeny AC. He is qualified as a Coach in Running Fitness and as an Endurance Official. He has completed more than 100 marathons and 100 half marathons, with PBs of 2.56 and 1.17 respectively, and is Race Director of the 95 mile West Highland Way Race. In 2020 Ian was awarded an MBE for services to athletics.
Jack Buckner – CEO
Jack commenced the CEO role at UK Athletics in July 2022 as the sport enters a busy summer of international athletics, then starts the build up towards a fast approaching Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Prior to UKA Jack was CEO at British Swimming where he oversaw a hugely successful Team GB performance at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021. The Olympic team claimed a best-ever haul of eight medals with 4 golds including Adam Peaty and Tom Daley as well as a world record in the mixed relay. The Paralympic team was the most successful sport competing for ParalympicsGB with 26 medals won at the Aquatics centre. Jack was the CEO of British Triathlon before British Swimming. During his time there, British Triathlon led the world with their best ever results at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics featuring the Brownlee brothers, Vicky Holland and Non Stanford.
Jack is a former European 5000m champion and two time Olympian. He was one of Britain’s leading distance runners and his times remain in the top 5 on the UK all-time list over 30 years later. His championship record from the European 5000m in Stuttgart has now lasted 36 years. He also medalled in the World championships and commonwealth games over 5000m. After retiring from running, Jack worked for adidas in the UK, Germany and the USA. Over a 10 year period in marketing, his roles included Head of International Business Units and Marketing Director for adidas USA. After a spectacularly unsuccessful venture as an apple orchard owner in New Zealand, Jack returned to the UK where prior to British Triathlon and British Swimming CEO roles, he worked as a Strategic Lead for Sport England. Jack has also spent 8 years as a NED for a NHS Foundation Trust hospital and is a current Trustee of the National Forest. He has a lifelong commitment to sport from grassroots to the elite.
David Abrahams – Chair of Athletics Northern Ireland
David is the Charity & Commercial Manager for Marsh Ltd Belfast – providing Insurance and Risk Management Advice to many commercial organisations in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. He is currently a member of Glens Runners. Previously he competed for Gloucester AC, Essex Beagles AC and finally Ballymena and Antrim AC.
Back in the early 80’s David competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a number of international meetings. The highlights of his career were a 4th place at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games representing England and breaking the British Indoor High Jump record in 1983. One of the most satisfying and unlikely medals won along the way was a silver medal in the Midland Counties AAA Decathlon.
In his working life David was previously a partner in a local Insurance Brokerage where he learnt the skills required to run a business and is now working for a multinational organisation in a management role which in itself requires a different set of skills. In addition to his people and budget management role David specialises in providing Insurance and Risk Management advice to Charities and Not for profit organisations.
Peter Crawshaw – Non-Executive Director
Peter an England Athletics board member. Peter has been closely involved in athletics for over 30 years as a competitor, parent, club administrator, highly qualified field official, and facility assessor. Since taking early retirement he has increased his voluntary involvement in the sport serving as a former Chair of the England Athletics London Regional Council and Officials’ Secretary for Surrey AA. An England Athletics director, Peter is currently Chair of the England Athletics Audit and Assurance Committee.
David Ovens – Chair of Scottish Athletics
David is Joint Managing Director of Archangel Investors, a leading venture capital business based in Edinburgh. He is an experienced corporate financier, having previously worked for HSBC Investment Bank in London and Noble Grossart in Edinburgh. He is Chair of SIS Ventures (a subsidiary of Social Investment Scotland) and a non-executive director of LINC Scotland, the trade association for early stage risk capital investors in Scotland.
David is a member of Fife AC, where he acts as coaching assistant to Steve Doig’s training group. He previously competed as a middle distance track athlete for Law and District and Pitreavie AAC.
He is married to Hayley, who competed for Scotland over 1500m and was a finalist in the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2006, as well as a member of Team GB for the World Indoor Championships in 2003. He has two daughters, Holly and Millie, who both compete on the track for Fife AC.
Steve Perks – Chair of Welsh Athletics
Steve was appointed Chair of Welsh Athletics in April 2019.
Steve has a thorough and detailed knowledge of the sport having worked in a variety of paid and voluntary roles and competed for Wales as a sprinter himself. He has an impressive track record as a leader, having been a headmaster of two secondary schools, Brecon High School and Ysgol Dyffryn Aman Ammanford.
Steve has also worked at the highest levels in the sport of Athletics having been the head coach at the Victoria Commonwealth Games in 1994, the GB relay coach at the Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004) Olympic Games where the relay team won the gold medal.
In 2004 he was inducted into the Coaching Hall of Fame by the Princess Royal at the Coaching Awards in London.
Anne Wafula-Strike – Non-Executive Director
B.Ed (Hons). Moi University, Kenya.
Role at UKA:
Ambassador to the British Polio Fellowship.
Patron – Centre for Sport, Spirituality and Religion, York University.
Sporting Ambassador – Right to Play.
Anne was a college lecturer and Student Counsellor at Machakos Technical Training College before she came to the UK.
She is a former GB & NI Paralympic wheelchair racer, who previously competed for Kenya at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. In recent years Wafula-Strike has concentrated on charity work, fundraising and motivational speaking.
She was awarded an MBE in 2014 for her services to disability sport and charity, and last December the UK Kenyan Achievers Award for most inspirational figure of the year. She has also founded her own charity, The Olympia-Wafula Foundation, which supports disabled people around the world.
Jennifer Thomas – Non-Executive Director
Dual BA, Economics and Dance, Scripps College, California, USA
Non-Executive Director, England Netball
Jennifer Thomas is an experienced Communications Director, currently consulting at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) advising on the next phase of their global diversity and inclusion strategy as well as on change, culture and engagement communications, as the business separates into two organisations. Previously at Direct Line Group, she transformed their profile as Director of Internal Communications, Experience & Sustainability and as its Director of Financial Communications.
She is also a prominent diversity and inclusion specialist, advocating for diversity and inclusion pan-industry and has been instrumental in introducing and setting D&I strategies within various organisations.
She had a former career as a 400m runner and hurdler for England and was previously on the Board of Working Families and Chair of Governors of a primary school.
Mike Whittingham – Non-Executive Director
Educated at Alleyn’s school, Dulwich
BA Hons French, Leicester University
PGCE, Loughborough University.
Masters in Recreation Management
Royal Society of Arts, EFL.
Role at UK Athletics:
Non-Executive Director (Performance)
Currently has various professional commitments at sportscotland Institute of Sport. Non-Executive Board member of Winning Students Advisory Board, British Curling Board. In 2020, Mike will be stepping down in his present role at SIS.
Mike has held several Senior and Director positions in Local Government and in Sport/High Performance Sport – UK Sport, Scottish Institute of Sport, sportscotland. He has also managed his own sports consultancy company Direction Sportive.
As both Executive Director of the SIS and Director of High Performance for sportscotland, he has led and overseen a very successful period for Scottish sport with a series of “Best Evers” in Summer Olympics & Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games from 2010 to 2020.
He has represented both GB & NI and indeed England at 400m hurdles, 800m and 4x 400m from 1973- 1984 (4th Commonwealth Games 1984). He was personal Coach & Manager to Kriss Akabusi, Roger Black, Jon Ridgeon, Mark Richardson, Nicola Saunders, Maria Akara, Christine Whittingham, Jacqui Parker and others. National Coach for 400m & 400m Hurdles. Greatest sporting moment was National Coach to the 4x 400m World Championships 1991 winning relay squad.
He is very familiar also with the world of Sports Management and Media Broadcasting – having been an expert summariser at BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky Sport, BBC World Service, Eurosport and OBS.
When at leisure, he enjoys running, keeping fit, hiking, weal kayaking, ski touring and taking part in specific fundraising challenges. A wide range of interests extend to gardening/ horticulture, nature, cooking, languages and playing the piano.
Marilyn Okoro – Non-Executive Director
Marilyn attended Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, and graduated from the University of Bath with a B.A. degree in Politics and French.
Marilyn is Program Lead for the New to Career function at Equinix, the world’s leading data infrastructure company. She is a Public speaker, Life Coach and Mentor and champion of women and girls. Driving change in professional sport and athlete welfare she founded a podcast series called Detach the Stigma. Marilyn is also an ACGP governance practitioner.
Marilyn is a former GB International who finished third in the 800 metres at both the 2007 and 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final. She was on the bronze medal-winning 4 × 400 m relay at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Wendy Sly – Non-Executive Director
Mark Draisey – Company Secretary and Chief Finance Officer
BCom Accounting degree – University of Birmingham
Chartered Accountant (CA), ICAS
Mark is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a broad range of experience at senior management levels in the private, regulatory, not for profit and membership sectors. His experience has seen him lead teams in a number of areas including Finance, HR, Risk Management, Procurement and IT.